The Insanity of Mileage/Status Running

Greetings from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport! What am I doing in Taipei you ask? Well I am starting my second of three roundtrip mileage/status runs from Taipei to Florida. Yes, that’s right. I am traveling nearly 20,000 miles roundtrip just to earn some miles/airline status. Crazy? Maybe a bit. But here’s why mileage/status running still makes sense.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the phrases “mileage run” or “status run”, let me fill in you on these often insane phrases. A mileage run or status run is when you fly solely for the purpose of either earning frequent flyer miles, or earning elite status with an airline. Oftentimes these mileage runs are done on extremely inexpensive or mistake fares that go a long distance.

Recently, American Airlines had a mistake fare where they were selling full fare, fully refundable Y-class roundtrip tickets between Taipei, Taiwan (TPE) and numerous points across the United States. One of those points was Fort Myers, Florida (RSW) where my parents happen to live. The cost of these usually massively expensive tickets? A mere $202.16 after taxes and fees!

The routing I selected had me going Taipei -> Tokyo (Narita) -> Los Angeles -> Dallas/Fort Worth -> Fort Myers -> Dallas/Fort Worth -> Tokyo (Narita) -> Taipei.

Mileage Run

All in, just shy of 20,000 miles per roundtrip. Having some free time on my hands before an upcoming move and job change, I went ahead and booked 3 of these flights back-to-back-to-back. That’s right – ~60,000 butt-in-seat flight miles in ~8 days.

To get out to Taipei, I booked a business class award ticket using my American Airlines miles (review coming soon!) and even got to spend a day and a half wandering the city and having 2 of the best meals I have ever had (both of which cost me less that $20 COMBINED).

Otherwise the trip is all economy class – which is brutal when you are 6’5″. I generally only book mileage runs when I know I can clear upgrades to first/business class or when the fare is actually a first/business class fare. The reason being that premium cabin tickets have mileage multipliers, which means I get more bang for my buck, while also being pretty comfortable the entire trip. This error fare was a bit different since it booked into Y-class – the highest economy class fare bucket. That meant that even if I decided I did not want to take the trip, my ticket was fully refundable. That also meant that I would earn an Elite Qualifying Mileage bonus multiplier of 1.5 for the flights operated by American Airlines.

Mileage Run 2

While the flights operated by Japan Airlines would earn me 1x the Elite Qualifying Miles.

Mileage Run 3

For ~$200, it really does not get much better than that! As an added bonus, Y-fare tickets on Japan Airlines flights are eligible for complimentary lounge access – meaning I could lounge hop my way through several airports!

So, what does ~60,000 miles worth of travel earn me? Let’s break it down.

My flights will earn me ~60,000 Elite Qualifying Miles and ~82,500 redeemable miles that I can use in the future towards award tickets.

In addition, I will easily re-qualify for American Airlines AAdvantage Platinum status which requires you to earn 50,000 Elite Qualifying Miles per calendar year.

Mileage Run 4

AAdvantage Platinum status carries with it plenty of nice perks like a 100% bonus on miles flown, business class lounge access when abroad, no matter what class of ticket I am on, priority check-in and other great perks.

Mileage Run 5

Mileage Run 6

Mileage Run 7

In addition, I will also earn ~20 500-mile upgrade “stickers” which can be used to upgrade my domestic economy class tickets to first class.

Mileage Run 9

As if all of that was not great enough for ~$600, AAdvantage Platinum status also carries with it benefits like priority check-in and boarding and lounge access when traveling on a OneWorld partner carrier.

Mileage Run 8

Lounge access while abroad on an economy ticket is worth its weight in gold in my opinion so re-qualifying for AAdvantage Platinum was worth it to me for that benefit alone as I use it often.

So, is mileage/status running insane? Absolutely. Who voluntarily flies long distances on airplanes just for the fun of it?! This guy, that’s who! Make sure to stay tuned for the reviews as well!

Final Thoughts

While this is certainly not the last mileage/status run I will ever make, it has been one of the more fun runs I have made. Plus it is pretty hard to argue with requalifying for American Airlines Platinum off of ~$600 in fares and a few days worth of flying a pretty decent economy product. It also allows me to bring some new content to the blog with economy class reviews – which as you may have noticed are non-existent on my blog. If you have any interest in doing this, I would highly recommend it. It is definitely always an adventure though, that is for sure!

What’s your craziest mileage/status run?

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